Cameras & Hipsters & Accents! Oh My!

Today I’m reviewing Shutterbugs, a sitcom that comes from the land down under. As their website explains, “Shutterbugs is a comedy web series about a group of obsessive photographers.”

I enjoyed this series. At first I thought that the style of acting (like Ab Fab, but toned down and filtered through 20 somethings) would get on my nerves, but actually I warmed up to it by the third episode. It’s consistent and charming and that makes the show work. There’s good pacing both in comedic delivery and in editing. The jokes are witty and the show knows not to linger or draw things out.

Let’s see if I can sum it up. There’s 3 friends, Chloe, Samantha, and Isaac, all photographers. Chloe and Isaac are the Freeze Frame Collective, trying to make ends meet with their photography. They have an evil landlord, Trent, whose photo snobbery is turned up to eleven and would like to evict them, along with make their lives generally miserable. The final member of the cast, Chloe’s brother Bo, runs some sort of video blog about…. fruit…. and marshmallows… with faces…and very low rent awesomely bad video graphics.

So to keep from over explaining – the collective needs a job to pay rent, and film to do the job. Hijinks ensue on their way to accomplish this, which includes a time lapse camera mugging of Bo, a series of quirky gifts from Isaac to Chloe as he awkwardly tried to express affection, Trent exhibiting some subtle power over time & space, an adolescent eBay con artist, and a little random sex. No nudity though. The show keeps everything clean and I think that’s a good choice. Just cause we can get all nudie and cursie on the internet, doesn’t mean we have to.

Ultimately, their short term goals are met when they pull off a job photographing the opening of a Mexican restaurant. However new circumstances, conflicts and a vengeful preteen with braces and pepper spray loom in the future for our sarcastic, fearless trio.

Each episode has a corresponding bonus episode that features a photographer and their work. This is a great idea! Love that. They tie in the photographer by having them do an episode inspired photoshoot, and then put together a short documentary about the photographer’s personal work. You get two different web series for the price of one! This, along with a Facebook group raffle prize, are the best transmedia ideas I’ve seen in a web series.

Everyone has dominating traits that they stick to, making the characters unique. Isaac is OCD/awkward, Chloe is cutesy/naive, Sam is ditzy/slutty, Bo is tech savvy/child-like and Trent is stone faced/malicious. Trent’s my favorite. He’s the bad guy to our Scooby Friends. He must be loads of fun to play and the actor playing him does a good job not breaking that blank expression. I don’t know the actor’s name, cause I can’t find a cast or crew list on the website. On the About page the creators credit themselves, but we don’t get a cast list or a crew list. Come on, guys, give people some credits! We want to know who they are and what else they’re up to.

Unfortunately, I’ve found no evidence of a season 2 in the works, as their site hasn’t been updated since season 1 closed out in Dec 2011. I’d hope they are intending to put together another season. They were popular enough to get themselves on a billboard, for crying out loud.

I have two criticisms. Well, that’s not true, it’s one criticism and one “idea that I would like to see them try.” The criticism is that they need some color correction, or white balance, or some gels for some scenes. I’d think a show about photography would take extra care on this. I know sometimes it can’t be helped, but it looks a little extreme to not be at least touched up with a little time in color correction. This doesn’t ruin the show and it could be a creative choice, but I have to say it’s distracting for me.

The idea I’d like to see them try is to integrate some still photos into the episodes. It might work, or it might not, but they’re taking photos throughout the episodes, why not flash a still up on screen? Or use a montage of still images as transitions? It seems like an obvious stylistic choice to use and to make the editing a little less ‘typical broadcast sitcom.”

It’s definitely worth watching. I mean the whole series amounts to about the length of a regular prime time show, so next time you’re stopping the clicker at yet another Big Bang Theory rerun, run to the internet and check it out.

Favorite Parts

The repeated line “My seeing eyes!” when someone gets poked or sprayed in the eyes. I have decided to use this myself. I actually managed to say “my hearing ears” the other day.

Ep 04 • Hipsters be scoffing. Best description I can come up with is dueling back of the throat “whatever” noise bitchy girls do. If you click here, it’ll go directly to what I like to call “The Scoff – Off.”

Ep 04 into 05 • Uber hipster going on ad nauseum about his thoughts on “fixies” is tricked into fighting a vet with hair that showed up from 1993. You might have to watch for this to make sense.

Ep 06 • Trent apparently teleports from one side of Isaac to the other. He does a few of these maneuvers throughout the show. It’s a nice subtle addition to the comedy.

Least Favorite

That there isn’t more of Bo’s weirdo internet videos.

Ep 04 into 05 • Raspberry Flavored Light

Ep 06 • Orange Flavored Light

And now – LINKS

Relevant Links

Shutterbugs Website

Shutterbugs Youtube

Shutterbugs Flickr

Less Relevant

Photojojo – website I enjoy for quirky, DIY, cheapish, photo toys.
I’m lacking in less relevant links or comic book recs this time around. But on the upside I managed to avoid any jokes including Paul Hogan, Men at Work, or the word Crikey while writing this post. Til next time…